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Are you resourceful?  Do you deal with new situations or difficulties skillfully and promptly?  When you walk into class and find out that you are being given a quiz that you didn't know about do you blame the teacher, voice your opinion as to how studied it is?  Or did you take the steps before you came to class to make sure you are ready for a quiz, even if you didn't know about it. 

Executive functioning are skills that you can develop as a student that deals with the brain processes that help you achieve your goals.  It helps you develop skills that make you resourceful.  Executive functioning are the skills that allow us to retain and work with information in our brains.  It can help you retain information that you will need for that pop quiz.  

Executive functions are the skills that also help us focus our attention and filter distractions.  Do you have difficulty concentrating in class because the guy next to you keeps sniffling, or humming or can't hold still?  Executive functions include cognitive flexibility which is a fancy term that means that your brain has the capacity to switch gears and adjust to changing demands, priorities, or perspectives.

So how do you improve these skills?

1.  Focus on the planning process.  Identify something specific that you want to accomplish and set a goal.  Make sure that's its meaningful to you.  Start with something that is simple and achievable. 

2.  Develop a plan.  Determine what steps are needed to take to reach your goal.  Think about what needs to be done to achieve them.  Include some of the problems that might arise when taking these steps.  Be proactive, plan ahead and decide what you will do when or if they arise.

3.  Monitor your behavior and progress.  Are you actually doing what you planned and are the steps you're taking getting you closer to achieving your goal?  Ask yourself, "Is this part of the plan?  If not, why am I doing it?"  Decide if something has changed.  The idea is to identify counter-productive habits and impulsive actions to maintain focused attention and conscious control.

Being resourceful can turn you into the successful, innovative person that you can become and help you achieve the happiness and success in life that you desire.  For the time being, developing executive function can help you be successful in middle and high school.